You can finally buy cannabis from a brick and mortar retail store in Ontario, but that doesn't mean legal weed is any easier to get in big cities like Toronto.
After a number of delays, cannabis retail stores will finally begin to open across Ontario today, April 1. Currently, the Ontario government has issued 25 licenses for retail cannabis locations, though as of right now only 10 of those stores are fully cleared to open and it's unclear how many of them will actually be selling to the public on Day One.
While five pot shops are slated to open in Canada's largest metropolitan area, the Greater Toronto Area, Torontonians will have only one option for legal cannabis today: Honey Pot Cannabis Co, located on Queen St. W. Excited consumers camped out overnight in front of the store to be some of the first people to buy from Toronto's first legal marijuana store.
"We get to be a part of history, it is a pretty cool thing to be part of the end of prohibition. And so here we are in front of the first legal storefront," Caryma Sa’d, a Toronto-based social justice lawyer who was at the head of the line, told the Toronto Star. "Kudos to the store for pulling it together. It wasn't an easy feat with all the hurdles put in place. So we're excited to support their business."
Inside Honey Pot, the store's owner, Hunny Gawri, eagerly awaited his new business' first day of sales. However, Gawri voiced concern about meeting the demands and expectations of these early customers.
"If there's lineups, is the line moving fast enough? Are we ordering product that the customers want?" Gawri told CBC News. "Honestly, we just want to make sure that everyone who comes through enjoys the experience."
That may prove challenging, as legal shops in Ontario will be coming into an industry that already has widespread supply issues. As a spokesperson for the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) said, growing pains should be expected.
"Stores and customers should anticipate that the assortment of some products may be limited until the legal recreational marketplace stabilizes over time," OCS spokesperson Amanda Winton said via email.
For those of you living elsewhere in Ontario, your options for buying legal cannabis in person are equally scarce. So far, stores have only been licensed to open in major urban centers, meaning that for many people the OCS webstore will still be the only place to buy legal marijuana.
In order to help consumers figure out where the closest legal cannabis store is, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario recently launched an interactive map. The map shows where the province's 25 legal cannabis stores are located and how far along the application process they are. You'll want to keep an eye on that page to find out when stores will be opening up near you.